Obama Urged By Advisors To Veto Appropriations Bill

The Executive Office of the President released a statement yesterday regarding the House passage of the FY2013 appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice as well as for science and related agencies. They are accusing the House of Representatives of violating the “bipartisan agreement to put the Nation on a sustainable fiscal course in enacting the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).” They go on to say that the President’s senior advisors would be urging him to veto this bill.

From a taxpayer’s perspective this is rich given that the appropriations bill is below the level that Obama requested. The administration is accusing Republicans of making spending cuts that would mean cuts in services elsewhere in the budget.

However, what is much more interesting is their strong opposition to the budget rider proposed by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) which would cut the ATF’s funding for the multiple semi-auto firearm reporting requirement in the Southwest.

Prohibition on Multiple Sales of Rifles Reporting Requirement. Preventing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from requiring licensed firearms dealers in four border States to report information on the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same person would hamper efforts to address the problem of illegal gun trafficking along the Southwest Border and in Mexico.

This reporting requirement is of dubious legality and even more dubious utility in stopping firearms trafficking to the narco-terrorists in Mexico. That the Obama Administration would single it out for special mention speaks to their true intentions regarding firearms.

UPDATE: Bob Owen is reporting that even with the cut to the multiple rifle reporting requirement, ATF will be getting a $1 million increase in its budget over the previous fiscal year. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has offered an amendment to the appropriations bill that would remove that same $1 million from the DOJ’s General Administration budget. This is the part of the budget that supports the AG’s office. Gowdy said he proposed doing this due to their stonewalling over Project Gunwalker. (corrected)

UPDATE II: The NRA-ILA released a statement urging members to contact their member of Congress regarding the Rehberg Amendment and the need to keep it in the appropriations bill.

It comes as no surprise that the Obama Administration put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that President Obama’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 5326 (FY2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill)…

Apparently, one of the reasons the President would veto H.R. 5326 is because of a NRA-backed general provision preventing funding for the new and unauthorized multiple sales reporting and registration plan proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). On Thursday, April 26, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved this general provision offered by Congressman Rehberg (R-Mont.), by a vote of 30-19.

Without this funding restriction, the BATFE could continue to circumvent the will of Congress by collecting information on multiple-sales of long guns by Executive Branch mandate and then, centralizing records of thousands of Americans’ gun purchases, without any legal authority.

Cutting The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program Because TSA Is So Good?

In the FY 2013 Federal Budget, the Obama Administration proposes to cut $13 million from the Federal Flight Deck Officer program. This is the program which trains those airline pilots that volunteer and qualify to be armed in the cockpit. The current funding for FY 2012 is $25 million.

The justification for this cut is that improvements in TSA procedures have “enhanced” airline security to the point where the FFDO program is barely needed.


The Administration proposes to reduce funding for the FFDO program (i.e., deputized, armed pilots) in 2013. As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) focuses its aviation security activities on programs that mitigate the highest amount of risk at the lowest cost, the Budget has prioritized funding in the same manner. The voluntary FFDO program was created as a “last defense” layer of security at a time when comprehensive aviation screening and other physical security measures were not fully developed or deployed on a system-wide basis. Since 2001, however, there have been a number of enhancements to aviation security. TSA now conducts 100 percent screening of all passengers and their carryon items, has overseen installation of reinforced and locking cockpit doors on aircraft that operate in U.S. airspace, and has increased passenger and flight crew awareness to address security risks. Combined, these improvements have greatly lowered the chances of unauthorized cockpit access and represent a comprehensive and redundant risk-mitigation strategy that begins well before passengers board the aircraft.

Are we talking about the same TSA? The one that engages in security kabuki theater while a number of its agents have been found to have been stealing from checked luggage including firearms. If they are corrupt enough to steal, they are corrupt enough to be able to be bribed by terrorists.

If TSA has really made flying so safe, then why not go the whole distance and discontinue the FFDO program entirely? Either the program is needed or it isn’t. I, for one, think having armed flight crew is an excellent idea and more cost effective than many of the procedures currently used by TSA.